Saturday Chivas USA gameday & Friday college scores

*Chivas USA (7-13-4) at Philadelphia Union (6-12-6) at 1 p.m. Telefutura.

Here’s a golden chance for Chivas USA to record a road win against an MLS team with an even worse record than they have, but the team boasted just one shot on goal in its last outing – a dismal 2-0 home loss to Kansas City – and that came in second half stoppage time.

Even worse:The Union is rested while Chivas USA is banged up with some of its most influential players battling injuries including top scorer Justin Braun (nine goals), playmaker Giancarlo Maldonado and rookie Blair Gavin.

A game preview is here

*In college action Friday:

After playing against a big crowd in San Luis Obispo in their last game, the UCLA men (4-2-1) did so again in Santa Barbara where the second largest crowd ever to watch a regular season NCAA game – a Harder Stadium record 15,896 – saw UC Santa Barbara win, 2-0. The UCLA women (6-2-1) beat visiting San Diego 2-0.

USC (6-1-2) extended its win streak to five in beating Gonzaga 2-1 in a come from behind win in Spokane.

Pepperdine (6-3-1) shutout Cal Poly in a 1-0 win in Malibu.

The Cal State Northridge men (0-6-1) remained winless on the season, losing 2-1 in overtime to San Francisco Dons.

Long Beach State (7-3-1) beat Arizona State, 1-0, at George Allen Field.

Freshman Tawni Martino had a goal and an assist – her sixth goal in nine games – as the LMU women (7-2-0) won their third straight in a shutout, 2-0 over Arizona.

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Galaxy-Red Bulls post-game wrap

Galaxy 0 New York Red Bulls 2

i-de1edb6487416275e41532add98be6e6-bouna.jpgWell New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul enjoyed the result – and the shutout (AP Photos).

Phil Collin has the game story. And a clever headline that sums things up, too.


It was the sort of night David Beckham and the Galaxy didn’t want to watch – and the shot at right was taken in the warm-ups. i-9e4e92f271a9a08e5fbc95426e5a385a-beckscantlook.jpg

But Red Bull Coach Hans Backe was virtually giddy in seeing his team haul themselves into a tie in the East (at least temporarily) , calling it a “massive win on the road” and one of the team’s best performances of the season:

“After the first three or four minutes we controlled the game. Our build-up was excellent and the passing game, the possession.”

Backe said the man of the match was the “absolutely outstanding” Mehdi BallouchyI, acquired earlier this month in a trade with Colorado:

“I must say I’m surprised he’s that good. He’s all over the pitch. His passing game, he’s so composed on the ball, wants the ball all of the time, gets our game going, sets up strikers, wide players. He was definitely the man of the match.”

As it indeed appeared, Backe confirmed he told his team to go after the young inexperienced Galaxy centerbacks:

“When we had a team talk we said we had to press the center backs, make life hard for them as much as possible.”

I spent much of the time after the game talking with new Red Bull and former Chivas USA defender Carey Talley and missed pretty much all the Galaxy players before they fled the locker room.

Sean Franklin had this to say after the game though:

Next for the Galaxy: Chivas USA Oct. 3

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New York Red Bulls (12-8-5) at the Galaxy (15-5-5) at Home Depot Center

After almost coming a cropper against the worst team in the league last weekend the Galaxy will attempt to raise their game against one of the best before a national television audience.

So naturally, David Beckham gets a start in only his third game back from injury with Coach Bruce Arena presumably confident he’ll go at least 45 minutes. Beckham’s return to the starting lineup means Alex Cazumba starts on the bench.

Also, with center back Omar Gonzalez suspended young Brazilian Leonardo fills in.

Here’s the Galaxy XI: Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Yohance Marshall, Todd Dunivant, David Beckham, Juninho, Dema Kovalenko, Leonardo, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Jovan Kirovski.

On the bench is the likes of Chris Birchall, Eddie Lewis and Tristan Bowen while rookie Michael Stephens doesn’t even dress today after being a consistent figure in the starting lineup for most of the season.

Red Bulls Coach Hans Backe has restored DP Juan Pablo Angel to the starting lineup after demoting him to the bench last week in New York’s 2-2 draw with Dallas.

The Red Bull lineup: Bouna Coundoul, Carey Talley, Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Roy Miller, Dane Richards, Mehdi Ballouchy, Rafael Marquez, Tony Tchani, Joel Lindpere, Juan Pablo Angel.

The game is on ESPN2 or refresh this blog to see updates during the game.

Lovely harvest moon hanging over the HDC, BTW.

The hype is done, let’s get it on.

We just had a LA based pop-punk band called The Briggs do a song called “This is LA,” which apparently is a staple at King games and a couple of years old. So it’s a AEG anthem then. Not bad. Randy Newman won’t be worried about being supplanted, though.

Donovan already won a tackle deep in the Red Bulls half just five minutes in – he’s fired up.

First shot on target for New York’s Ballouchy in the 14th minute that required a Ricketts save.

Thirty minutes have gone and Leonardo has already been yelled at by Ricketts for a weak clearance, while Angel put a move on him that was pure EPL class and drew an admiring “ooh” from the crowd. Leonardo looks the weak link in the Galaxy defense that’s for sure.

Beckham looks more than a bit tired already, too.

The Galaxy have fallen behind in the 36th minute, two mistakes by first Marshall, then Leonardo – their two young central defenders – proving their undoing.

A Miller throw-in started the move. Marshall was unable to clear with a weak header, Lindpere collected it, went by Leonardo like the Brazilian wasn’t there, but his shot hit the post. Richards was following up to score the goal on the rebound.


Galaxy 0 New York Red Bulls 1

Galaxy started better at the outset of this one, but New York gradually asserted themselves. Will the young central tandem prove the Galaxy’s undoing?

Key stat: New York has two shots on target, the Galaxy none. Or will that prove the Galaxy’s undoing? You can’t score if you can’t hit the target.

Incidentally, veteran Mike Petke replaced the apparently injured Carey Talley in the New York defense in the 40th minute.

Defender A.J. DeLaGarza, listed as questionable with a left knee strain before the game, is warming up in the center circle. Has Arena seen enough of Leonardo?

Yup. Sub made. Franklin has shifted to the middle of defense, with AJ on the right.

Galaxy 0 New York 2

Juan Pablo Angel has just scored his 13th of the season from the penalty spot in the 60th minute. Marshall made a second mistake that led to a goal bringing down the speedy, breaking Richards in the box. Marshall just couldn’t match him and was booked. I still don’t think the Galaxy have had a shot on target in the game.

Beckham just had the Galaxy’s first shot on target from a 30-yard free kick after Buddle was brought down. In the 66th minute, mind you. Lewis has come on for Kirovski.

A last throw of the dice for Arena. Young Bowen is the Galaxy’s third and final substitution with about 15 minutes left. Beckham will go the whole way then.


Galaxy 0 New York Red Bulls 2

i-6aab8bc9d19c3edb6a280129b10708ec-badbeckstackle.jpgLate to the party: David Beckham earned himself a yellow for this late challenge on Salou Ibrahim in the dying minutes of the game (AP Photo).

A deserved win by the visitors.

Two defensive errors by the young central defenders and an inability to barely get a shot on goal was the Galaxy’s downfall.

Beckham oozed class and scarcely put a foot wrong all night making precise passes and dangerous crosses, even though he looked gassed at times. His supporting cast was not up to snuff – not even close.

A leaden first touch by Bowen that ruined any sort of attacking opportunity with around 10 minutes left after the ball had gone right through the New York penalty area when it slipped beneath a defender’s foot seemed to sum up the Galaxy’s night.

An opportunity squandered before a 27,000 capacity crowd.

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Friday Galaxy gameday

It’s here: 8 p.m. Galaxy-New York Red Bulls at Home Depot Center on ESPN2.

I haven’t heard otherwise from the Galaxy, so it sounds like the game isn’t quite a sellout for those of you close enough to attend in person. I’m guessing when word of Thierry Henry’s absence filtered out, many Eurosnobs soccer fans lost interest.

Still, there are four other highly-paid designated players on the field and the teams are two of the best in the league. I plan to blog from the game so join me back here then.

While we await kickoff, here’s a collection of previews and other articles to get your anticipatory juices flowing:

*Reporter Phil Collin has our preview here.

Here’s a preview from a New York perspective.

*The Wall Street Journal, looking at the game from a financial point of view (what else?) observes the two clubs’ five DPs earn 30% of the entire league payroll. Wow.

*The New York Times reflects on what Beckham hath wrought.

*Read my column from earlier in the week here.

*You can follow the rivalry between fans on Twitter.

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The rivalry: Galaxy-Red Bulls II

In the wake of Wednesday’s post bemoaning a lack of rivals for the Galaxy ahead of Friday’s game with the New York Red Bulls in Carson I chatted with a friend who is a member of the LA Riot Squad at our mutually favorite local watering hole in Torrance.

He pointed out that U.S. soccer fans tend to stick together considering we are the minority in a nation that overwhelmingly prefers pointyball football.

For instance, when the Red Bulls and the Columbus Crew played in MLS Cup in Carson a couple of years ago the Riot Squad hosted New York fans, while the Angel City Brigade hosted supporters of the other team.

Know what, he said? All the fan groups got along great.

I just can’t see, say, fans of London club Millwall (whose fan base is shall we say, infamous for their passion – to put it mildly) doing that same same sort of thing to fans of ANY other club. In England, fans following their team on the road have to be careful about what part of a city they go to, never mind avoid certain pubs.

Still, rivalry doesn’t necessarily mean a degree of hostility exists as perhaps my post Thursday implied.

Proof of that is that fans of both teams have adopted a Twitter hash tag to communicate with each other in the run-up to the game: #LAvNY

Check out what fans are saying here.

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The rivalry: Galaxy-Red Bulls

It seems the Galaxy have always been a team in search of a rival.

One that you can have a passionate derby/classico against with rival sets of fans chanting in sold-out stadiums.

Chivas USA? Well, they started out crap, had a bit of a resurgence under Bob Bradley and Preki – and actually played far more attractive soccer than their landlords for two or three seasons there, while the Galaxy were themselves ghastly – but are now crap again.

The San Jose Earthquakes? Well, more people in the Bay Area have worked up a healthy distaste for LA than the other way around. So that doesn’t work.

Which brings us to New York. Same problem as Chivas USA, really. New York – whatever their name – have always been pretty crap, even when they were heading to MLS Cup a couple of seasons back.

No more. These days the Red Bulls are legitimate MLS Cup contenders.

So now we can work on building up a healthy dislike for those East Coast, only city bigger than us in the nation, New York types. Right?

Here goes:

Thierry Henry, not content on cheating to prevent Ireland going to the World Cup and being part of the biggest bunch of crybabies in the tournament, has now injured one of our own, former Galaxy, UCLA, Cal State Dominguez Hills and Palos Verdes High goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. No wonder Henry found an excuse not to show up for the game against the Galaxy Friday at Home Depot Center. Of course, he’s also a big star who genuinely loves playing and living in the U.S. and doesn’t appear just to be here for a lucrative vacation

Or there’s Rafael Marquez, who unless you’re a Real Madrid fan, was widely admired at Barcelona. But, of course, he’s a Mexican national team mainstay so that’s reason enough to dislike him (unless you’re one of the Mexican-American soccer fans locally who likely outnumber us gringos).

What else? Um, er, um.

Damn. Can’t think of much else.

Always liked Juan Pablo Angel since his days at Aston Villa. Damn.

Speedy Dane Richards is often a blast to watch. Damn.

The current management has shown more money and commitment to the team than any previous owner and that’s good for MLS. Damn.

And I really, really, really want to visit that by all accounts drop dead gorgeous new stadium they’ve built. Damn.

So maybe we should look to the past.

However, the Galaxy beat New York in the two teams’ previous meeting this year (check out the video and my blog post here to refresh your memory). So that’s not going to help. Damn.

Of course, the Red Bulls did beat the Galaxy in a goal-fest a couple of years ago. The problem? It was a great game, perhaps one of the best MLS has ever seen, between two entertaining and attack-minded teams. Damn.

Ah well, re-live it here:

Still, suggestions for disliking Friday’s opponents are always welcome.

Me, even in Henry’s absence I’m still looking forward to the game against a team and players I really enjoy watching watch these days.


And it should be a compelling battle of the opposing midfields, according to Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena.

Now that’s a rivalry.

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Wednesday Kicks: Marquez, Esky, Juninho & more

*Red Bull New York’s Rafael Marquez, who will play Friday against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center, was one of 13 Mexican internationals fined or suspended for a party they threw in the team hotel in Monterrey last month in violation of team rules after an exhibition match against Colombia, according to the Associated Press.

Suspended were Carlos Vela (Arsenal) and Efrain Juarez (Glasgow Celtic).

Also fined, like Marquez, were: Javier Hernandez, Giovanni dos Santos, Guillermo Ochoa, Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Salcido, Andres Guardado, Gerardo Torrado, Pablo Barrera, Hector Esqueda and Hector Moreno.

*Read about former Galaxy and Chivas USA striker Alecko Eskandarian and his continuing struggle with concussion-like symptoms here.

*More about blossoming Galaxy midfield star Juninho is here in words and in diagrams here (and yes, I know I’ve posted that latter link before – it seemed apt to do so again with the story).

*U.S. Soccer today announced the names of the 40 Under-17 players who will join the famed Bradenton Academy this fall and the locals (with club affiliation and hometown) include:

goalkeepers – Wade Hamilton (Arsenal FC; Murietta.), Jake McGuire (Chivas USA; Chino)

defender – Luis Martir (Chivas de Guadalajara; Los Angeles)

midfielders – Marco Delgado (Cosmos Academy West; Glendora), Esteban Rodriguez (Cosmos Academy West; Palmdale),

forwards – Kevin De La Torre (Chivas USA; Winchester), Mario Rodriguez (Central Aztecs; North Hollywood)

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Henry to miss Galaxy game after all

The Frenchman is out injured, the Red Bulls announced today:

SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) — Thierry Henry will miss the New York Red Bulls’ high-profile game against the Los Angeles Galaxy and David Beckham on Friday night because of a sprained right knee.

The Red Bulls said Tuesday that the French forward had sprained the medial collateral ligament in the knee during a Sept. 4 loss at Real Salt Lake. He played with the injury last week and incurred a $2,000 fine for a celebratory kick following teammate Mehdi Ballouchy’s goal, a kick that sent the ball into Kevin Hartman and injured the Dallas goalkeeper’s knee.

“We spoke to Thierry Monday and we decided that it was the best course of action for his
health and for our club to rest him this week,” Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler said.
“Despite the attention surrounding this Friday’s match, we did not want to exacerbate
Thierry’s current injury that he has been playing and practicing with over the past two weeks. We want to ensure that he is healthy for our final matches as we hope to qualify for the playoffs and make a run towards the MLS Cup.”

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Tuesday’s column: Galaxy-Red Bulls no regular match

i-b348009ebd8f182a29055b864893cb1d-henrybullsdallas.jpgAfter playing Dallas and courting controversy, Thierry Henry and the Red Bulls visit Southern California Friday to play the Galaxy (AP Photo).

It’s a sign of how far MLS has come that soccer fans are clearing their Friday night calendars in anticipation – yes, anticipation – for a regular season game.

Got your tickets, yet?

Read my column about the game, including exclusive comments from MLS Commissioner Don Garber on the Thierry Henry-Kevin Hartman incident, here.

Fellow blogger Steven Goff has reaction from Hartman’s agent here.

So the stage is set for Friday’s game.

Even the Eurosnobs should watch this one, you would think.

It should – should – be a great game.

But what if it’s not?

I’m not the only one who frets about that sort of thing:

“I think about what kind of experience fans have and what kind of stories can be told after big games because I believe it’s those stories that create a history for a pro sports league,” Commissioner Don Garber told me Monday after stepping off an airplane in Portland, where renovations begin today on the stadium there for the expansion Timbers.

“If this is a great battle it will turn into a even bigger rivalry and one that will be even more anticipated,” he added. “When we do have a game with a big platform and we don’t get a lot of drama I view them as missed opportunities. That being said both teams will be looking for three points – every game really matters from this point forward.”

Still, Garber wasn’t about to point to this game as representing some sort of breakthrough for the sport in this country in terms of finding a much larger audience:

“This is a project that still has many years left in the plan. I never suspected and I know our owners didn’t that with key player signings and other development the sport was going to explode in popularity overnight. What we can hope for is what we have now – continual growth. … We are delivering a much higher quality product that hopefully can satisfy the taste of what has become an ever more sophisticated soccer audience.”

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